Privacy, What Privacy?

by Charles C. W. Cooke

In my piece today I argue against the oft-repeated but inordinately silly claim that the Internet Age inherently implies a lack of privacy; an argument that can best be summed up with the line, “if you share everything on Facebook you can’t complain about privacy!” As I point out:

That many are reckless with the information they choose to share online is true. But it is also utterly irrelevant to the debate at hand. To argue that a narcissistic teenager who willingly shares the intimate details of his life on social media is, in consequence, not entitled to Fourth Amendment protections of the information that he elects not to share is tantamount to arguing that a willingly promiscuous individual is not entitled to be protected from sexual assault. What you choose to give away and what may be taken from you by force — or in secret — are utterly different things. Should a reckless spender be asked to accept an arbitrarily imposed tax bill? (“But you already waste your money!”) Should a renowned blabbermouth expect to be wiretapped? (“But you already tell everyone everything!”)

I also observe that both private companies and the federal government are bound by terms and conditions — one a legal contract, the other our laws and Constitution — and that these create certain expectations. If we are no longer to expect privacy to be the default setting of our republic, we should know it.

You can read it here.

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